Grace Kao 

Faculty Director, Education Studies and Professor of Sociology

Grace Kao is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Director of Education Studies at Yale University. In Fall 2017, she will offer an undergraduate course in Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in the US and a graduate seminar on Sociology of Education.

She received her AB in Sociology and Oriental Languages (Chinese Literature) from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA and PhD in Sociology from The University of Chicago.

Previously, she directed the Asian American Studies Program at Penn and served as Associate Chair of the Sociology Department. She is the Co-Editor (with Hyunjoon Park) of Research in the Sociology of Education. She has served on the Boards of the Population Association of American and the Association for Asian American Studies. For the American Sociological Association, she has served as Council member for the Sections of Asia/Asian America and Education, and she has served as Chair of the Section of Children and Youth, and served on ASA’s Nominations Committee. She has also served on the Editorial Boards of the American Sociological Review, Social Science Quarterly, Social Science Research, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociological Forum, Sociological Perspectives, and Social Problems.

She studies race, ethnicity, and immigration as they collectively relate to education and relationships among young people. Her work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Science Research, Social Science Quarterly, American Education Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Child Development, Early Childcare Research Quarterly, Population Research and Policy Review, among others. According to Google Scholar, her work has been cited over 7000 times. With Kara Joyner and Kelly Stamper-Balistreri, she has a forthcoming book tentatively titled Labeled by Love: Interracial Friendships and Romantic Relationships.

The following is an incomplete list of Education Studies faculty that is in the process of being updated.  Thank you for your patience.

Richard Hersh
Lecturer and Senior Advisor to Education Studies

Richard Hersh is a lecturer in Yale College and Senior Advisor to the Education Studies program. Dick received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science and History from Syracuse University and an ED.D. from Boston University.  He taught high school Social Studies in suburban Boston and in the Boston public schools and began his higher education career as an education professor at the University of Toledo. His work on moral education became his primary scholarly focus as he headed for the Center for Moral Development at Harvard University followed by a decade of work in teacher education and Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President for Research at the University of Oregon. He served as Provost at the University of New Hampshire and Drake University before becoming president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and then Trinity College (Hartford). He served as a congressional Fellow and is the author of several books on moral education, effectiveness of American schooling, and the changing nature of American colleges and universities including, We’re Losing Our Minds: Rethinking American Higher Education (2012) with co-author Richard Keeling. 

Mira Debs
Executive Director, Education Studies

Mira Debs is a sociologist of education who studies urban education, school choice, school diversity, public policy, and progressive public schools. She is completing a book manuscript which is the first study of racial diversity and equity in public Montessori schools. Her other research examines how groups form collective identity through objects, history and their children’s schooling including studies on Italian art, India’s independence struggle and the post-civil rights memory in the American South. Her research has been published in Cultural Sociology, Nations and Nationalism and the Journal of Montessori Research and featured in Education Week.

Prior to graduate school, Mira taught high school for five years in the Boston area suburbs and a city charter school and worked in college admissions at the University of Rochester. She is a founding Board Member of Elm City Montessori School and the founder of Montessori for Social Justice, a grassroots organization of public Montessori educators. She has written research briefs for the Sheff Movement Coalition and the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

Nancy Close
Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center and Lecturer in Psychology

Nancy Close has been on the faculty at the Child Study Center since 1977. Her areas of academic specialty are in child development, early childhood education, clinical evaluation and childhood psychopathology. She is the Associate Director of the Yale Program in Early Childhood Education. She teaches undergraduate courses in child development and courses at the Child Study Center in clinical child development and developmental assessment. She supervises clinicians in training who are learning to do assessments and therapy with young children. Dr. Close also provides mental health and early childhood education consultation to Yale affiliated and community child care programs. She is a member of the New Haven School Readiness Council and has been on the board of several community day care centers and elementary schools.

Carla Horwitz
MS, Dip.Ed, Ed.D, Lecturer, Yale Child Study Center,Education Studies Program and Department of Psychology; Director Emerita of Calvin Hill Day Care Center and Kitty Lustman-Findling Kindergarten

Carla Horwitz is a member of the Yale Education Studies faculty, as well as a member of the faculties of the Yale Child Study Center and Psychology Department. Carla was the Director of Yale University’s Calvin Hill Day Care Center for the past forty years. She retired in 2016, and is currently Director Emerita. The Center, a nationally accredited, model educational preschool and kindergarten program, provides high quality, developmentally informed, affordable child care and education for the children of Yale and community families; it is also the site of early childhood practicum placements for Yale and other area colleges. Carla currently teaches three courses – Child Development, Language, Literacy and Play, and Theory and Practice of Early Childhood Education, as well as the Education Studies Senior Capstone Seminar.

Carla spent a year in England studying open classroom, integrated day infant schools, studied in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and is involved in incorporating, through her consultation and mentoring, the practice of the progressive preschools found there.
Carla has established several post-graduate teaching fellowships in child development and early childhood education. These fellowship
programs are a unique combination of engagement in a high quality preschool classroom setting (Calvin Hill) and participation in related
courses in a nationally renowned child development clinic (Child Study Center). Carla serves as a sustaining member of the fellowship
committee as well as a mentor for the training of young professionals in the field.
Carla’s research interests include the creation and implementation of progressive curriculum, play and its role in developmentally appropriate early care and education, supervision, mentoring and the
professional development of teachers, and educational leadership.
In addition, Carla serves on the boards of several professional organizations including the New Haven affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, All Our Kin, Read to Grow, and the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, as well as the advisory committee of the Gesell Institute of Human Development. She is also a consultant to early childhood programs and other educational settings. Carla has been a faculty member at Yale for more than forty years, and is also a Silliman College Fellow. 

William Garfinkel   

Lecturer in Education Studies

Bill Garfinkel has been serving as a United States Magistrate Judge in Bridgeport, Connecticut, since 1996. He is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and received his B.A. from Yale College in 1977, summa cum laude, with departmental honors in History. Judge Garfinkel pursued graduate studies in American and British History at Yale before attending Yale Law School. After law school and a clerkship, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County, and went on to teach law before working as a litigator in private practice. Judge Garfinkel has created and taught college seminars at Yale, entitled “Crime and Criminal Justice in America” and “Child, Family and State.” He is an Associate Fellow of Yale’s Berkeley College and teaches “American Education and the Law” for the Education Studies Program.  Judge Garfinkel holds a black belt in Tang Soo Do and has been a student at the Center for Taiji and Qigong Studies in New York. He is married to a school social worker, and they have two sons.

Richard Lemons
Lecturer in Education Studies
Richard Lemons serves as the Deputy Director for the Connecticut Center for School Change. In
this role, he facilitates the Superintendents’ Network and the Systemic Instructional Improvement Program (SIIP) Network. He also oversees program development for LEAD Connecticut, a state-sponsored initiative focused on developing leadership across the state, especially for the lowest-performing schools and districts.
Richard has a long history of working on issues of equity and urban school improvement from within important education institutions. He served as Vice President of Program and Policy at The Education Trust, a national organization relentlessly committed to shrinking the achievement gaps that plague our educational system. He served as Associate Director for the Harvard Change Leadership Group, a research and professional development center focused on helping districts improve. He also served as a faculty member at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut. Richard works with dozens of U.S. school districts and has consulted to schools and districts across the globe, taking him from Jordan to South Africa.
Richard earned his Ed.M. and Ed.D. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the
Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned his BA in Political Science from North Carolina State University. He has published on a range of topics including leadership development, professional learning, organizational change, instructional quality, and equity in schools.

Bandy Lee
Lecturer in Education Studies


Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div., is a violence studies specialist.  Trained as a psychiatrist at Yale and Harvard Universities, she focused on public-sector work and anthropological research in East Africa as a fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health.  She is currently on the faculty of the Yale Law and Psychiatry Division and teaches through Yale School of Medicine, Yale Law School, and Yale College.  As Director of Research for the Center for the Study of Violence and consultant to the World Health Organization and to other divisions of the United Nations, she has helped to set up violence prevention programs around the world.  She currently directs the Violence and Health Group of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.  Her newest area of research concerns the role of art and humanistic education as a foundation for peace building.  A painter herself, her activities have spanned from co-founding the celebrated DDB Gallery in New York City, to collaborating with music and dance groups in and around Lincoln Center. 

Marc Brackett
Lecturer in Education Studies


Marc Brackett, Ph.D., is Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. His grant-funded research focuses on the role of emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, relationship quality, wellbeing, performance, and organizational climate. Marc is the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by over 1000 public, charter, and private schools across the United States and in other countries, including Australia, England, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. RULER infuses emotional intelligence into the fabric of a school through training for school leaders, educators and staff, students, and families, and has been shown to enhance wellbeing, academic performance, and school climate.

Marc has published over 100 scholarly articles and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Joseph E. Zins award for his research on emotional intelligence in schools. His research is featured regularly in popular media, including the New York Times, Time Magazine, and National Public Radio. Marc regularly consults with school systems and companies around the world, including Schwab and Goldman Sachs, and for the last four years he has worked with Facebook to develop tools that help adults and children develop emotional intelligence and resolve online conflict. Marc also holds a 5th degree black belt in Hapkido, a Korean martial art.